David Schlosberg: Too Deep In It

Too Deep In It

The stereotype of the entrepreneur is someone who does it all: not just making the products or providing the services, working with vendors, paying the bills, making sales calls, sweeping the floor, and often working 20-hour days, seven days a week.

This approach might work well enough in the early days of a new startup, but at some point the entrepreneur needs help to keep the business growing. And that’s where David Schlosberg comes in.

David is a business advisor with Ferguson Alliance and an independent consultant who works with small, family-owned businesses in agriculture and horticulture, helping them develop their sales teams and strategic sales planning. He steps in when entrepreneurs are “too deep in it” and need some outside expertise on the sales side.

David shared some of his insights on our Sales Lead Dog podcast.


David’s Story

Like many in sales, David stumbled into his sales career by accident. Working for a company in Texas that built golf courses, and thinking he would be a project manager, he was told by the company owner that he was actually needed in a sales role. David had had no previous experience in sales, and no aspirations in that area, and in his words, “I was mortified.”

However, he learned to like sales and became passionate about it, and every role in his career since then has been in sales, sales leadership, or sales consulting.

Around the time David was thinking of going into consulting, a longtime friend (and sales representative for a competing business) started a business advisory practice, called Ferguson Alliance, and invited David to join the firm.


Entrepreneurial Challenges

In his time advising small businesses, David has observed some common challenges and mistakes:

  • Small business owners have trouble recognizing when they’re too deep into the day-to-day details of running the business, rather than looking at the bigger picture of strategic planning and developing a high-level roadmap for the business.
  • Often, at this point, the business has reached a growth plateau–the entrepreneur or family has reached the limit of what they can achieve on their own. That’s the point when they need to bring in an experienced sales leader to develop a sales organization and move the business forward.
  • Entrepreneurs often make the mistake of hiring a sales leader that is too much like him- or herself. It’s obviously important that your sales leader share your values, but that person also should have a fresh perspective on your business and the skills to develop an effective sales team to take it to the next level.
  • Entrepreneurs often have clear aspirations and goals, but lack effective plans to achieve them. That’s another area where a good sales leader can help.


Thoughts on CRM

In David’s experience, many small organizations approach CRM adoption the wrong way: They buy a CRM tool and try to bend their customer-relationship processes to fit the tool, rather than working out their processes first and then finding a tool that fits them. Organizations that implement CRM the wrong way find that their people resist adopting it and fall back into using spreadsheets and emails to fill the gaps where the tool doesn’t support their processes.

For more on David’s thoughts on growing entrepreneurial businesses, listen to his interview on the Sales Lead Dogpodcast.